by Mark Seaman
2000 years ago my people were called Barbarians.
Under the command of Arminius, we decimated three Roman legions in the German forests. To block the advance of Rome. We changed the world. Rome was to make no further advance into our heartland.
1400 years ago my people. were call Saxon.
The lure of expansion brought us to the islands to the west. After the natives were subdued we built a good life in this beautiful land. We built kingdoms and churches and began to amass wealth.
1200 years ago my people. were called Norsemen.
Our lives were hard in the north and we needed to go viking to survive. Our people built tens-of-thousands of long boats so we could settle in lands currently occupied by others. We came like a flood with fire and axe in hand to make a better life. We fought, we settled, and we ruled.
1000 years ago my people were called Norman.
Our people were at Hastings when the great battle changed history. We fought and died on both sides. We were part of the subjugation of the island nation and the crusades that followed to retake the Holy Land.
800 years ago my people were called Plantagenet.
We fought in the Holy Land and setup the Kingdom of Heaven to rule the heathen with a fist of iron. We ruthlessly suppressed rebellions in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Bordeaux, and Brittany. We built 1000 castles as mighty fortresses to protect the rule of law. We grew tired of fighting but it had become who we were. We opposed King John and made him sign a document that limited his power, but he made us pay with our lives. We rebelled against Edward and were soundly defeated.
600 years ago my people were called English.
We were decimated by plague, 100 years war, and the Wars of the Roses. Half of my people died within five short years. Life was hard, short, and brutal. A few of us were from noble families, but most were serfs and peasants. We lived at the will of the lords and were frequently called upon to fight for their honor. This was a time of great suffering.
400 years ago my people were called Tudor.
My people were part of the great religious wars that tore through Europe. They watched as John Wycliffe burned for translating the scripture into modern language. They fought with each other as Gustav Adolfos tore through the German countryside. They were part of the church rebellions of Henry, Luther, and Calvin. Some of my ancestors fled to the New World in response. They saw America as an opportunity to start anew. Some of my people were friends with William Penn.
200 years ago my people were called British.
Our people ruled the seas and were the disputed rulers of the world. We have colonies every where are across the earth. Our army and navy were the greatest in the world, but we were at constant war. Our colonies had a desire to break away so the military was called upon the destroy all rebellions. Many of my ancestors fought in the revolution. Meriwether Lewis explored the west.
100 years ago my people were called American.
We settled the Kentucky wilderness and the mountains of Pennsylvania, rich with coal. My ancestors owned slaves and fought for their freedom. My people died on both side of the Civil War. My people continue the legacy of that primal struggle for human decency and honor. We seek to both repair and preserve the great stain of slavery on the soul of America.
My people have been shaped largely by the almost constant conflict we have endured. My people have often been on both sides of the fight. We have been both Victors and Victims (Oppressors and Oppressed). I am proud of those that have fought for justice and ashamed of those who have fought against it. But this is my family legacy. It is part of who I am.